Why It's Good to Break Rules Frequently

For the parents/teachers who are reading this you might be silently groaning in your head and thinking "Sandy! What. Are. You. Doing. Now?!" And for the young people reading this -- don't get too excited because this is not a green light to go on a wild lawless escapade!

Every human being is limited by what his or her body will allow us to do. We have yet to spread our wings and fly, we cannot breathe through gills, and have no internal water-storage system to last us months in a desert. But despite the limitations bound within our flesh and organs, we have clearly found ways to adapt through years of technology and science. This adaption is what I mean when I encourage "rule breaking." It might not be a written rule set in stone that states: "No human being may traverse the galaxies" but for quite sometime this was the assumed boundary we set on ourselves. Then there were many uber geniuses who crunched numbers and built gadgets, and that boundary was soon smashed to smithereens!

So what about for people with more physical limitations than the 'average' human being? Within the population of those with O.I. we have clearly seen the benefits of science and technology, and how for many young children the 'old rules' of O.I. have long since broken. There are kids who will be taller than 3ft, kids who were once never expected to walk are now running, there are children playing baseball and hundreds of other sports! As I had written in a previous entry, the benefits of discovery have been tremendous and as an 'older generation' O.I. I am of course jealous.
(Just because we have a disability doesn't mean we should accept a life of complacency, abiding my social assumptions, or even the expectations we have of our own bodies. If you ask me those are all the ingredients to a very, very, very dull life).
But it's important for us to keep in mind that what led to that first discovery was someone who dared to break the rules. Someone somewhere thought: it should be possible for someone with O.I. to have near-average height. It should be possible for a child with O.I. to run without use of a walker or crutches. It should be possible for someone with O.I. to participate in sports, and to have more durable bones. Someone came up with the idea to break those initial assumptions. Someone asked themselves and their colleagues "Well what if we did this..."

One afternoon in the seventh grade I asked myself that very question while sitting after school in detention. Who knows what I had done this time around, but there I was sitting silently in the classroom... pretending to reflect "very seriously about your behavior." As you might believe sitting silently - and very still - should be something that comes easily for someone with brittle bones, but as life would have it that's one of the most difficult things for me to do! OF COURSE I had no intention of sitting in that classroom for 30 min, never mind "very still and silently." I wanted out and I began thinking of ways for me to get out of detention.
From the corner of my eye I saw my friend A begin to slowly slide down in his seat to the point where he was basically sitting on the floor. The teacher was busy working with another student, some nerdy and diligent 7th grader who came after school for more help understanding molecules. Suffice to say the teacher was not paying attention to the delinquents he was supposed to watching in detention. Within a minute A had crawled to the side of my wheelchair and whispered "ask to go to the bathroom..." Immediately the plan began to take shape, I understood what was going on!
I raised my hand and asked to go to the bathroom, the teacher waved me off so that he could get back to explaining the process of photosynthesis to that diligent 7th grader. I rolled out of the classroom and my friend A crawled next to me, my wheelchair hiding him as we went past the front of the class. Once we were out of the class we fled to the sixth grade wing and went to go visit our teachers from last year... we were free to have a grand ol' time that afternoon, and no one ever was the wiser to our antics.

Okay, so maybe that's not exactly the greatest - most moral - example of 'forward thinking rule breaking' I could have offered from my life. But hey, it was a fun story am I right?

Don't be afraid to break rules because sometimes it's the only way we will ever get anything done. Out of conflict comes not just resolutions but progress.

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